This is a very interesting nine-game featured slate in the NBA. For the first time in what feels like forever, not a single team playing this evening is on the second leg of a back-to-back set, meaning we currently have injury reports for everyone. All players are accounted for.
Will everything hold and be the same by lock? Of course not. Still, you have to embrace positivity while you can.
Let’s dive in and find some values.
PG/SG Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs, $4,000
I’m going to make an educated guess about the Celtics’ injury report on Wednesday. Currently, both Jrue Holiday ($6,100; elbow) and Derrick White ($6,600; ankle) are listed as questionable — as is Kristaps Porzingis ($7,800; knee). I’m going to assume that one of those two guards will be inactive, as we are discussing a contest where Boston is a 16-point home favorite against a seven-win Spurs team. Heck, even if both Holiday and White do suit up, there might be enough garbage time in the second half for the reserves like Pritchard to shine. Either way, this is a great matchup for the former first-round pick. San Antonio comes into the night surrendering the most DKFP per game to opposing point guards. The Spurs are also operating at the Western Conference’s fastest pace (102.8). Pritchard’s scored at least 19 points twice in the Celtics’ last three contests. He’s averaging 0.93 DKFP per minute since the beginning of December. 6x or 7x value is definitely on the table.
SG Sam Merrill, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $4,600
It appears that the Cavaliers will be more shorthanded than usual on Wednesday. Caris LeVert ($6,400; wrist) popped up on the injury report as questionable to play against the Bucks — already a bad sign — and the wing followed that up by not attending morning shootaround. In the words of a Magic 8 Ball: Outlook not so good. Considering LeVert has been averaging 20.5 points per game in January with a 27.4% usage rate, his absence would be quite noticeable for Cleveland. Someone also having a good first month of 2024? The sharp-shooting Merrill. The guard is logging 24.4 minutes per contest since January 1, as Merrill continues to carve out a role for himself in the Cavaliers’ rotation. It’s not empty volume, either. Merrill has managed to reach or exceed 20.0 DKFP in all six games within that span of time. Merrill would surely see more action if LeVert is sidelined, and he could do some serious damage versus a fast-paced Milwaukee squad that’s struggled to defend all season long.
C Jontay Porter, Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat, $4,300
It’s still unclear to me what happened with Porter on Monday. Let’s recap. The 24-year-old was given his first opportunity to start an NBA game, as the Raptors continue to deal with the absence of Jakob Poeltl (ankle). Porter logged 14.5 minutes in the first half and had some decent production, racking up four rebounds, three assists and a block. Porter then started the second half, picked up an offensive foul 10 seconds into the third quarter, and was never seen again. What?! Darko Rajakovic has shown a willingness to play small, with Scottie Barnes ($8,400) able to play the five in a pinch, yet Porter had seemed to recently work his way into a secure role in the coach’s rotation. Toronto should need the big man’s size on Wednesday in a matchup with Bam Adebayo ($9,000) and the Heat. If Porter starts again, I’m going to give him one more chance to have a real fantasy impact.
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